Katie Scott, a freshmen Crosby Hall resident, isn’t a fan of the University of Mississippi’s campus dorm rules.
“College is a place where you make decisions on your own,” she said, “and I feel like these rules and policies do not give you full room to make your own decisions.”
Scott believes college students should be able to make their own decisions without being told when they can and cannot have guests.
“I do not know any other university that has these rules,” she said, “but honestly, for safety reasons, the use of key cards and checking people in prevents the wrong people from being in the dorms. Some of the rules feel unnecessary, but I do get that they are for safety.”
Walking into Crosby Hall, students see a blue sign plastered on the wall with the rule policies of the dorm. These rules and policies are the same at every dorm, so if you’re an Ole Miss student, there’s a good chance you have been affected by the rules in some way.
Students like Scott often have mixed feelings about these rules and policies. Jennifer Lea McClure, assistant director of marketing in the Student Housing Department, said they allow students to have guests because they want them to feel at home.
“We also want to provide privacy at certain times for the roommates of residents who have guests,” she said. “Also, how many people we have in a building at a time impacts decisions on staffing and security.”
McClure said UM does not determine visitation hours. That is determined by the Board of Trustees of the Institutions of Higher Learning, so regardless of how students feel about it, these are the university’s rules.
“We want students to have freedom to have guests, so that they feel like those are their homes, but at the same time, we must obey the rules of IHL,” McClure said.
McClure said many parents of students prefer dorms without 24-hour visitation. For certain people in UM’s target market, that is a benefit.
“We like to think that the student housing experience does provide values for our students,” McClure said. “Giving students these tools prepares them to take on their responsibilities.
“When you are on your own, you take care of everything. We try to give them support and tools to live totally independently, and make good choices, and make positive impacts on their collegiate experience.”
Rachel Daglis, a junior and second year Crosby Hall community assistant, said the rules help ensure safety.
“The fact that we have someone at the front desk 24 hours a day … we want to make sure that everyone in the building is supposed to be in the building,” she said. “The check-in policy with girls having to bring the boys down to make sure the girl is safe – and checking in, period – is just in case of emergency. We know who is supposed to be in the building.”
Daglis said some students try to get around the rules and sneak guests in. They are often caught.
“It is awkward when you catch them, because they put us in a bad position,” she said. “We ask them to leave, and if they try to hide in the room, we have to call UPD, and they must be escorted out for trespassing, which most people do not realize it is trespassing.”
Daglis said some students think the rules can be too strict, but it’s because they don’t understand why UM has the rules. “We are not trying to control them, but we are trying to keep them safe,” she said.
Landon Twiggs, a freshmen and Stockhard Hall resident, believes the university should be more lenient with visiting hours and the number of visitors students are allowed at one time.
“My other friends at different universities, they did not have these rules or rules at all regarding guests,” he said. “Anyone could just walk in, so I guess in that aspect, the rules and policies are in place for safety reasons, so random people cannot just come in and come out.”
Sophomore Addison Markham, a former Burns Hall resident and new homeowner, said she liked the established rules that Burns had. “However, I wish we could host more than two guests,” she said. “As a new student to Ole Miss, I valued these rules that Burns had.
“Looking back, as a freshman, having no rules may have been too much freedom to have because I was just moving away from home and living on a hall with other people. Having those rules is just part of being a freshman here, and it is a good transition from home to new freedom.”